To Know Yourself Before
Consider this amazing poem by Karen Maezen Miller. (If you saw it in last week’s post, it’s worth a second look. Trust me.)
Sit for a moment of quiet. Relax your hands, your forehead, your jaw. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through the nose, lips closed. Then, open your eyes and read the poem slowly, mindfully.
I Knew You Before
I knew you before you were a victim,
before you were a wreck, a mess, and a bomb.
Without a crowning success or crippling failure.
Before you had an issue, an axe, or a cross.
No disorder, no syndrome, no label—
without a blemish or scar.
Before that night and the morning after,
before the after and before the before.
Before the fall, the crash, the crime,
without an upgrade or makeover.
no narration, no closed captioning,
no footnotes and no bonus features,
before you remembered to forget and forgot to remember.
I knew you before you were what you say—
what you think, what you fear, what you know.
Do you know yourself before?
I’m using this poem as the opening to almost every workshop I do. I just love it. I love it because it so beautifully presents what I strive to teach through the LifeArt curriculum—how to “know yourself before.”
If you look at the offerings on my website, it looks like I am teaching a whole variety of workshops and classes. But in truth, I’m only teaching one thing: how to wake up and gain insight into the truth of who we really are, and further, how to live in the ease and joy such a state allows us to experience. This is a hard topic, so we come at it from a variety of angles. But in the end, we’re all here to wake up to who we really are, to know ourselves before.
Kind of a funny phrase isn’t it? What does it mean to know yourself before?
Well, maybe it means before you were famous, or before you were successful, or before you were depressed, or before you were old, or before you were some version of a person that the world wanted/expected/demanded that you become. Before all of that, you were something. You were an essence. You were whole and complete. You were filled with potential. You were your essential self.
Yes, ESSENTIAL SELF. I am not afraid to use that phrase. You ARE an essential self still. Have you lost touch with that essential self? I believe connecting with that essential self is the work of our lifetime on this planet.
So how to do that? Yes, how to do that. I think about this all the time. And maybe the LifeArt curriculum is one way to get started on (or to deepen) that process.
If you look at my workshop and class offerings for the Fall and Spring, you will see that there is a progression to them. The very first workshop (on Sept. 15) is an overview of the 10-step protocol that I use to guide my clients toward full flourishing. If you want to get an idea about what coaching is all about, come join us at The Yoga Shala on Saturday afternoon, September 15. This session will show you the concrete steps I use with my coaching clients.
Then, all of the workshops that follow throughout the year focus on a single step from the protocol. So come join us. This September session may be all you need. See the whole trajectory of the LifeArt curriculum, and then you can design your own program for moving through the steps.
But if you want to dive deeper with me and a group, come to some of the other sessions to focus on a single strategy or practice. Become more skilled and facile in understanding your habits of mind and how they are holding you back. How does that sound??
Join me in the journey, Fall 2018, for one of my classes or workshops. Check them out here.
I hope to see you soon.